The internet is weird

I made a tumblr blog. It was a ridiculous idea that came out of some jokes at work. But apparently the world loves ridiculous ideas, so it has been embraced by the internet community as an official meme

I created something that went viral. And all it took was photoshopping someone's eyes onto someone else's face. Who knew it was that easy? 

It's a bit surreal to know that this woman had to talk (and act enthusiastic) about my Photoshopping for a good minute.

I thought I had my 15 minutes of fame already, but it seems that it's happening right now. I can only imagine that it's all downhill from here.

Berlin: Day 4

Our final day in Berlin. I didn't have anything on the agenda until evening, so I wanted to do a little shopping and check out some other neighborhoods. After Rob decided to get his haircut by a guy who didn't speak English (it turned out well), we took the train to Mitte. 

We walked up and down the city streets, popping into shops (where I picked up a necklace but had to be talked out of buying a purse, although I did take their card), a cemetery, and a small park with two little boulders that Rob couldn't resist climbing. 

After a bit more exploring, we went to Hackescher Markt to find some lunch. I was really hoping for something authentically German (sausage and potatoes), but it was hard to find in this area, so we settled for Italian. I also had a surprise lunch guest!

From there we had to hop on a train for a special evening. One of Rob's oldest friends, Sarah, along with her husband Yasha, moved to Berlin a few years ago, so we reached out and they invited us to their home for dinner. 

Not only did I have a two year old princess try to squeeze her plastic fairytale shoe on me like an ugly stepsister in Cinderella, which we watched together for a bit, and get a reenactment of Lego Star Wars from a 7 year old storyteller, but I also got exactly what I had been looking for...an authentic German meal of sausage and potatoes!

After sharing a meal, some wine, and ice cream, we headed out, and on their recommendation, took a stroll on Kurfürstendamm, one of the fanciest shmanciest streets I've ever seen, even in the dark with all of the high-end stores closed. In fact, I ordered a McBaguette from the fanciest McDonalds in existence. There were chandeliers! 

A quick train ride back to the apartment, and it was time to say g'night for the final time in Berlin. On this trip, at least. I can see myself coming back for sure. This city fit me well. There are few places where I feel like I "belong," and this one ranks high on the list. There's still so much I haven't seen. But as sad as I am to leave Berlin, I'm just as excited to start the next leg of the trip in Prague!

  Clockwise from top right: colorful garages; spent some time exploring Mitte; cemetery daisies; a delightful dinner in the Berlin home of Sarah and Yasha

Clockwise from top right: colorful garages; spent some time exploring Mitte; cemetery daisies; a delightful dinner in the Berlin home of Sarah and Yasha

Berlin: Day 3

One of the activities that came most highly recommended by friends who have been to Berlin was taking a bike tour of the city. While I knew this would be a great way to see a lot, I was a little nervous about my (lack of) athletic abilities. The last time I rented a bike in a city, I suffered through the streets of San Francisco as Rob continually told me that I needed to work out. But I was assured that Berlin was flat enough, even for me.

Luckily, they were right.

 I did it!

I did it!

The bike tour was the perfect way to see all of the touristy historic points in 5 hours time, instead of spending multiple days attempting to hit them all, which left more time for exploring the less touristy parts. 

It's really quite amazing to know how much of the city is relatively new. Faux old. I'll admit that I wasn't too familiar with the historical specifics, so it was incredibly interesting to learn while standing in front of meaningful landmarks. If only high school history classes could have been taught that way. 

  Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

  Reichstag Building

Reichstag Building

  Clockwise from top left: Berlin Victory Column; third souvenir (Berlin's motto); French Cathedral; Berlin Cathedral; biking and photobombing

Clockwise from top left: Berlin Victory Column; third souvenir (Berlin's motto); French Cathedral; Berlin Cathedral; biking and photobombing

As we finished up the last spot on our tour and started the ride back to the shop, the skies opened and it started to pour. Although I was unhappy to be riding those 15 minutes back in the rain, I was simultaneously happy that we made it through 95% of the day with clear skies. 

Since the rain stopped after dropping off the bikes, we took the short walk out to Berlin Cathedral, but most of it was closed due to a religious ceremony, so we left and decided to head back to Kreuzberg. We found a local bar where I finally enjoyed my first German beer, and ended the night planning for the next day. 

Berlin: Day 2

Still on east coast time, it was impossible to drag myself out of bed earlier than 10am. But once I was up, I was raring to go because Sunday is Mauerpark day! I love a good outdoor market, and I heard Flohmarkt am Mauerpark was quite the experience. Being blessed with a beautiful day only made the whole thing that much better.

Work from independent creatives, vintage wonders, and awesome food was crammed into every possible square foot (or should I say square meter?) of space. 

From there, we wandered to the park, which was packed due to the aforementioned weather. Hearing cheers coming from the crowd, we headed over to find massive outdoor karaoke. As if there was any question that Berlin was my kind of city!

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The top of the park featured a wall with inches thick layers of graffiti on it. There were a few artists doing their work, and I was told that anyone could participate, but I was satisfied with being a spectator. 

That evening, Rob wanted to check out the local rock climbing gym, so I broke off for a walk to a café to catch up on the internet world. 

 I love seeing these old photo booths around the city.

I love seeing these old photo booths around the city.

Spending a few hours in the café made me feel less like a tourist and more like a local. It was adorable and felt like I was relaxing in someone's living room. This city has a way of making me feel at home. 

  Clockwise from top left: Mauerpark flea market; corn from the market; second Berlin souvenir; colorful graffiti; cinnamon sugar waffle snack

Clockwise from top left: Mauerpark flea market; corn from the market; second Berlin souvenir; colorful graffiti; cinnamon sugar waffle snack

After a late and delicious dinner, it was back to the apartment to rest up for an upcoming day filled with physical activity. That's right...a bike tour. 

Berlin: Day 1

I've found my hipster wonderland. A place where the fashion is comfortable yet creative. A place where I've barely seen any vegetables. A place where my ridiculous red hair blends in, instead of stands out. Aside from not knowing the primary language, I feel completely comfortable here. 

The travel was long, but worth it. After a layover in Frankfurt, which I believe was purely a reason for me to eat a frankfurter, we arrived in Berlin at noon their time. Going off of barely any sleep, we wandered around our neighborhood, Kreutzberg, which I had read was the hipster haven of an already hip city. 

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The weather could not have been more beautiful, as we (and the trendy Kreutzbergers) meandered the sidewalks, shopped at a street market, ate ramen outside, drank wine in the streets, and watched an elaborate bocce tournament.

  Clockwise from top left: courtyard of our airbnb; enjoying wine in the street; German ice cream; my feet touched Europe for the first time today; my first souvenir (of many, I'm sure)

Clockwise from top left: courtyard of our airbnb; enjoying wine in the street; German ice cream; my feet touched Europe for the first time today; my first souvenir (of many, I'm sure)

Eventually the time difference and lack of sleep caught up with us, which resulted in a nearly 5 hour nap. But waking with grumbling tummies at 11pm, it was time to find food. There is no shortage of restaurants and bars in Kreutzberg, but I wanted to try out Berlin Burger International, and it did not disappoint. 

It was a tiny spot with the cook raving to techno music, an old tv with Super Mario Bros 3 hooked up in the corner, and the most intense plain old cheeseburger I've ever had. So good. 

A quick walk back to our Airbnb and a little bit of research to plan the following day, and it was time to call it a night. 

A few observations:

  • I had imagined the residents of Berlin to be a stoic, strong people, but they are incredibly kind and friendly, and they laugh quite a lot.
  • Instead of obliviously walking down streets with their smart phones in their hands, they walk around with their friends and a beer in their hands. Perhaps this is related to the laughing. 
  • The dogs and children are incredibly well behaved. 
  • It's hard to find a wall that isn't covered with the most amazing graffiti, and i'm having a tough time not taking photos of it all. 

Three more days before leaving for Prague. Can't wait to see what else this city has to offer. I'm already impressed.

Going Abroad

I've never been to Europe. I'm finally crossing that off my life list with a trip to Berlin and Prague. 

Now that I'm about 30 hours from boarding that plane, I'm finally allowing excitement to seep in (despite the fact that packing is still hanging over my head.) There are some things I'm nervous about. The long flight. The language barrier. The voltage of my hair appliances. There are some things I'm looking forward to. A Prague food tour. A Berlin flea market. International selfies. 

But really, I'm so ready to let my senses devour something new and unfamiliar.